2017 Gold Cup
Arena Names Four Dual-Nationals to Gold Cup List
June 03, 2017
ON SATURDAY Bruce Arena announced the preliminary roster for the upcoming Gold Cup and it included Kenny Saief and Jesse Gonzalez, two dual-nationals who appeared to be heading for other federations. It was also revealed that Saief, an Israeli youth international, has filed his one-time change of association switch to play for the United States.
Here is the full preliminary roster.
Joe Bendik (Orlando City SC), Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas), Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Sean Johnson (New York City FC)
Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG), Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC/CAN), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Jonathan Spector (Orlando City SC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/MEX), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Tommy McNamara (New York City FC), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Kenny Saief (Gent/BEL), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), C.J. Sapong (Philadelphia Union), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
The addition of Saief, 23, would be rather significant because the Gent midfielder has built up quite an impressive resume in recent years. Born in Panama City, Fla., to Israeli parents of the Druze religion, Saief and his family returned to Israel when he was six. It was there where he developed and began playing for Israeli youth teams.
In 2014 he moved to Belgium to play for Gent and he made a strong impression. He became a consistent starter, won a league title, and featured in the UEFA Champions League. A natural outside midfielder, Saief is an intelligent player who can create offensive opportunities.
The addition of Gonzalez to the program is also noteworthy. The FC Dallas goalkeeper, 22, has played for Mexican youth national teams, including at the U-20 World Cup in 2015. As Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, and Nick Rimando all enter the final years of their careers, it is unclear who is next in line. Gonzalez will have competition with the likes of Ethan Horvath and Zach Steffen but Gonazalez has a high ceiling.
Two other dual-nationals also made the 40-man preliminary roster, although they don't qualify as surprises. English-born Dom Dwyer was widely expected to get a shot after he sealed his U.S. citizenship in March. Cristian Roldan, who is also eligible to play for El Salvador, was also mentioned by Arena as being in the mix during a December Facebook interview.
While this list is just a preliminary 40-player roster, all four dual-nationals look like they have a good chance at featuring this summer at the Gold Cup and making their national team debuts.
What do you think of these new additions to the U.S. player pool? Share your take below.